Thursday 19 September 2019

Perry left hanging after 'I'm a winner' speech to Fine Gael

Sligo-North Leitrim TD John Perry at Leinster House Photo: Tom Burke
Sligo-North Leitrim TD John Perry at Leinster House Photo: Tom Burke
Sligo-North Leitrim TD Tony McLoughlin at Leinster House Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Fine Gael TD John Perry will have to wait at least a week before finding out if his political career is to be cut short by the Fine Gael hierarchy.

The Sligo-Leitrim representative made a final plea last night to his parliamentary party colleagues, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, to have him added to the General Election ticket.

Speaking to the Irish Independent afterwards, he described his approach to the meeting as "calm and measured" and said he outlined the importance of "loyalty".

"I told them I'm a vote winner, a voter catcher and I'll win the election," the former junior minister said.

He told TDs and senators that he had gone against his father's wishes when he entered politics at the age of 39.

And he recalled his electoral history, outlining how he won a second seat for Fine Gael after being added to the ticket in 1997 and survived the party's disastrous 2002 election.

He also warned that party headquarters - who he blames for his troubles - needs to be reigned in.

"There needs to be a separation of powers between headquarters and parliamentarians," he said, adding that many candidates lost out in the local elections because of decisions made by strategists in HQ.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny listened intently to Mr Perry's speech but did not reply.

Instead, Kildare South TD Martin Heydon replied on behalf of Fine Gael's national executive to say that a report on the issue would be completed within a week or two.

Sources told the Irish Independent it remains "certain" that Mr Perry will not be added to the ticket unless Mr Kenny intervenes.

Sitting TD Tony McLoughlin and former TD Gerry Reynolds won the selection convention for the two places on the constituency ticket.

But Mr Perry remained "very encouraged" last night and said he will not give up on his bid to run in the election.

"I'm not contemplating not being added. I come from Fine Gael heartland.

"The Perrys are 150 years in Sligo and my family reputation is very important to me," he said, adding that a precedent was set in Dublin Bay North where Minister Richard Bruton was added to the ticket despite losing out at convention.

Irish Independent

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